|McRae at BC farm of Norwegian company Greig Seafood|
Minister of Agriculture Don McRae:
“I’m pleased to say that over 5,000 samples have been tested for ISA in the last several years. How many came back positive? Let me think about it for a sec. Zero — not one.
“…We’ve put forward everything we have. We’re not hiding anything.”
Oh yes they are.
New York Times, William Yardley, December 15, 2011
“…The virus, infectious salmon anemia, has devastated farmed Atlantic salmon stocks in Chile and elsewhere. Some conservationists and scientists have long worried that the virus would spread from farmed fish to wild ones. Those fears escalated in October, when opponents of British Columbia’s ambitious farmed Atlantic salmon program, which is heavily promoted by the government, presented lab results they said showed an asymptomatic form of the virus in wild Pacific salmon.
“Several more reports of the virus have emerged in the past two months, including a draft paper suggesting that the virus was detected as early as 2002 but not revealed by the government, further angering farming opponents.
‘…The most combative exchanges occurred during testimony by Kristina Miller, the head of molecular genetics for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans laboratory at Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. While previous reports of the virus had surfaced from sources outside the Canadian government, only to have Canadian officials question them, Dr. Miller testified that she also had received positive results when she tested for the virus, known as I.S.A. She said that when she reported her work to a superior last month, she was asked why she had conducted it at all.
“Nobody in the department talked to me about disease or I.S.A. after that,” Dr. Miller testified. At one point, she said she was frustrated at what she called “flippant dismissal of pathogens” that could be harmful.”
The Times Colonist commented a few months ago on a communications plan uncovered at the Cohen Commission that noted DFO considers opposition to salmon farming the result of a confused and unaware public. The newspaper concluded:
“…the DFO should be a neutral, science-based regulator, ensuring that the best evidence is used to set standards for fisheries, farmed and wild, that protect the environment and the public interest. That role is undermined, even corrupted, if the government department becomes an advocate for a particular industry segment. Its impartiality and willingness to enforce standards is cast in doubt. Its pronouncements can no longer be trusted.
“Actions like forbidding scientists from discussing their research are taken as evidence of pro-aquaculture bias…”
While months ago there might have been a small element of doubt in the minds of people not directly involved, there can be no doubt now. DFO’s role is undermined. It is corrupted. We know with certainty that bureaucrats consciously suppressed science that interfered with promotion of open net fish farming. DFO coerced scientists to suppress evidence and, in Dr. Miller’s words, were guilty of “flippant dismissal” of reports they did not want to hear. Rather than supporting diligent investigation of potential harms, they wanted threats ignored.
This is not a question of poor judgement made after well-intentioned consideration. DFO policy does not result either from errors arising through confirmation bias. Instead, there has been a strategy of purposeful neglect and negligence aimed at supporting industry today without care for consequences that might arise tomorrow.
Did BC Agricultural Minister Donald McRae consciously lie to the legislature in October or was he uninformed. Given the high profile of this issue, that his remarks were entirely unqualified and given his direct involvement in promoting the fish farm industry, McRae cannot be excused. I conclude he was not merely uninformed.
Dr. Todd B. Kashdan, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology reviewed research on verbal deception by two Stanford researchers. Kashdan offered clues to identify when politicians are telling lies. I paraphrase:
- First, be wary of words that distance the speaker from personal ownership of what they are saying. Instead of first-person pronouns, they use plural words such as “We’re not hiding anything.”
- Second, be wary of over-the-top glowing positive statements.
- Third, be wary of absolute certainty.
McRae, scoring three out of three, should resign. He is not fit to continue as a minister of the British Columbia government.
Don’t miss Kristi Miller Steals Show Again as Salmon Inquiry Rocked by New Virus Bombshells by Damien Gillis at The Common Sense Canadian
“…They all asserted the vital need for more testing at this stage – something DFO has gone out of its way to avoid (with the exception of [Dr. Kristi] Miller, who has taken this work upon herself – to the great consternation of DFO managers, by whom she claims she has been completely ostracized for her recent investigations into the virus)…”
Alexandra Morton says:
“In my opinion, the salmon farming industry is getting better service from our government than we are.”
H/T to Ms. Morton for the following: